top of page

Making sweet treats from the ‘fudge-it’ budget – December 2022




November brought the latest of budgets that will shape the economy for the coming years.


What is it with Budgets these days? For centuries they were called Budgets and now they have massive identity issues… September’s debacle was a ‘Fiscal Event’ and November’s was an ‘Autumn Statement’. Much like, ‘why is it so warm outside’?


The budget in September was a Fiscal Event that nearly caused a monetary catastrophe for the country. Defined benefits pensions across the country nearly collapsed which would have put an enormous strain on the Pension Protection Scheme if many of them had. In the event, the Bank of England stepped in and printed a load of money to buy the government debt that no one else wanted, steady the demand and therefore the ship.


The Good Ship Britannia is still close to rocky shores though. Some poor souls, as usual the unsuspecting ordinary people in steerage, have been knocked off the boat and set adrift. Defined benefit pension schemes transfer values have plummeted, some being half of what they were this time last year. Alternative planning is required for them with retaining the guaranteed income their schemes provide, probably the only sensible course. It’s sad that the captain and first mate of the ship Britannia understood so little about economics. But there you go, the rest of us can only play the hand we have been dealt and have to cope, in spite of their short comings.


So, to the Autumn Statement for a new captain and first mate! Rishi and Jezza the dream team helicoptered on to the ship to steer us through the narrow passage like the specialists at Suez or the Panama canal. Except, they’re not really specialists or expert at what they do, they’ve barely sailed a pedalo.


And so on Thursday 17th, the list of tax increases and spending cuts that will try to get us out of this mire were expounded. We shall not focus on the whys and wherefores of these or the impacts of them on our country’s long term financial growth prospects, or whether in the past few decades leaders have excelled at their jobs. Such as:


  1. how Poland’s economy is expected to be bigger than ours by 2030,

  2. why middle-income households in countries such as France and the Netherlands are 20% wealthier than ours

  3. why winning ideas like Brexit were employed or not using oil wealth in the 80s to fund tax cuts instead of creating sovereign wealth funds like in Norway.

Instead, as always, we will look at what we can do in spite of all the ‘help’ they give us. Sometimes life, the world and in our case often our own government will chuck spanners at us. We will dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge these spanner’s and make the best of it as we will not be held back by these doughnuts!


Instead, we are going to sugar coat them, pump them with jam (or custard if that’s your preference) and take a massive, big bite out of them. We have one life, and we need to make progress despite headwinds.





This is how we are going to do it:


Key headwinds


Higher-rate income tax


For those earning over £125,140 you will pay 45% income tax, reduced from £150,000.


Streamlining tactics:


Pensions: maximising your pension payments will essentially reduce your earnings. If you earn £140,000 then making a gross pension payment of £40,000 would retain your personal allowance and save 45% tax on income over £125,140. That’s £21,771 in tax.


VCTs: not as good as pensions, but if you haven’t got the annual allowance for pension (it’s £40k a year but reduces by £1 for every £2 over £200,000 right down to £4K) then paying into these will get you an income tax refund of 30% of the amount you invest. You can pay up to £200k a year into these (only worthwhile if your income tax bill is £60k!)


VCTs also provide a tax-free dividends. If income tax rates are going to remain high well into the future, which seems likely, then this tax-free dividend provides a great income top-up with no tax effect.


Remember, VCTs are extra high risk so should only be considered as part of a diversified portfolio.


Capital Gains Tax


The CGT rates are staying the same but the tax-free allowance of £12,300 is being reduced to £6,000 in 23/24 and then £3,000 in 24/25.


Dividend tax – we could all earn £2k in dividends tax-free, but this is now being abolished and will be nil.


The effect of these is that many people that own a small number of shares will now need to do tax returns to pay the small amounts of gains they will have or dividends they receive, this will be a bit of a burden on the tax office.


The argument for holding rental properties as investments as an individual is even more greatly reduced by the CGT and income tax changes. CGT rates are already 18% and 28% on property compared to 10% and 20% on shares. The rental income they provide, if you are a high earner too, will also massively affect your returns due to 45% income tax, reducing your pension annual allowances (thus restricting your tax saving ability!) and taking net yield down.


Streamlining:


If you are a rental property owner – look at whether its worth owning in a limited company structure.


Look to maximise use of all pension and ISA allowances, as well as VCTs if your risk appetite is there. This means less money in accounts that are affected by capital gains tax / dividend tax.


Consider using wrappers that allow you to defer taxation, such as offshore bonds, or onshore bonds would also mean you could control tax on your wealth to a time when tax rates have potentially come down again.


Other things you should be thinking of


Inflation is high and interest rates are moving up to quell this. The best asset to be invested in is equities. These trump long-term earnings of everything else and are the only asset to consistently beat inflation. You should be invested in them as much as you can stand.

If you just hold lots of cash, then high interest rates mean it’s once again worth being a ‘rate tart.’ There are cash management platforms available where you can get the best rates from all deposit accounts in the country. Contact us if you need any! We post them on our client hub every month too.


Charitable trusts: If you have more money than you are ever going to spend, why not start giving it away into your own charitable trust! You don’t have to distribute it straight away and have 21 years to do so. But the inheritance tax benefits are instant and there will be no tax on the growth it receives.


Giving to others is great for our well-being too, you know. Humans are wired to help others, despite what you read. Altruism is what has developed us as a species. It also develops us as individuals.


Personally, I like paying extra tax to help the people that need it. That’s what society is for. I’m lucky I don’t need it; others do, so they can have my support. On the flip side, I also think I can have a bigger impact with the money by helping our clients, my colleagues in our business and the causes I support. So, using the schemes the government have introduced to save tax are a good thing too.


I will continue to support the hard-working and entrepreneurs by investing in their businesses so they can make money for themselves and us. Investing in equities provides the capital for these people to build the businesses to create the jobs that create the wealth.


It’s nice to have the support of a competent government, with sound long-term progressive policies to help people, and long-term views on investment that will help us in the future. However, just because we haven’t, doesn’t mean we are going to stop trying to achieve what we want. We can still do this without their help. Everyone can.


As ever, here for you if you need us. Here for you if you don’t! Until next time…


This article does not constitute financial advice – we recommend you to speak to a qualified financial adviser about your individual situation.


We hope you found this article interesting and useful.


If there are any specific topics you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue, please let us know by emailing support@lucentfinancialplanning.co.uk and we’ll see what we can do!

Comments


bottom of page